Now This Is Interesting: Black Lives Matter Supports the Palestinians
The American BLM movement's support for Palestine isn't new and may result from a feeling of "kindred-ness" between the two movements.
Since its founding on May 14, 1948, the State of Israel has fought multiple wars and faced foes on many fronts. Now it is engaged in a war across social media and perhaps even the social consciousness. Many left-wing politicians in the United States and beyond have called out Israel's attacks in Gaza, which have left more than 100 civilians dead, including many women and children.
This week, the Black Lives Matter organization declared its "solidarity with Palestinians" in the wake of the ongoing bloody conflict with Hamas backers and the Jewish state.
"Black Lives Matter stands in solidarity with Palestinians. We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation. (Always have. And always will be)."
#freepalestine," Black Lives Matter announced on social media from its official account (@Blklivesmatter).
The calls were subsequently picked up by the controversial Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
"Thank you for your solidarity. From Ferguson to Palestine, our struggles against racism, white supremacy, and for a just world are united!," @BDSmovement responded on Twitter. The response came as pro-Palestinian protesters had gathered across cities in the United States and other Western countries to call for a cease-fire in the region.
Both Sides Escalate, One Side Blamed
The conflict began earlier this month following a violent clash between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters at the Al-Aqsa mosque – a site that is sacred for both Jews and Muslims alike – but it escalated after Hamas began firing rockets into Israel from Palestinian controlled Gaza.
Israel responded by bombing targets including an office tower that allegedly was home to the propaganda wing of the militant group.
However, across the United States, left-wing groups have been encouraged by progressive lawmakers who blame Israel for the violence, and have even called it an "apartheid state" that is committing "war crimes" as well as other atrocities on Palestinian civilians.
Yet, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has warned civilians ahead of many of its strikes, to give civilians time to head to safety. In its own response on social media, the IDF shared a video that alleged the use of "human shields" by Hamas.
"Israel fights to protect its civilians. Hamas uses civilians to protect itself," @IDF posted on Tuesday.
BLM Support for Palestine
The American BLM movement's support for Palestine isn't new. The New York Post reported that a delegation of BLM first traveled to the region in 2015 – its first official overseas trip – and has since returned multiple times.
"This is an apartheid state," BLM co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors told Ebony magazine following the first visit. "We can’t deny that and if we do deny it we are a part of the Zionist violence."
Khan-Cullors has also said that many black Americans feel a "kindred-ness" with Palestinians because of their "eerily similar" experiences. She even suggested that Palestine is the "new South Africa."
Local chapters of BLM have also condemned the violence against Palestinians this week.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.